Watery exoplanet suggests we may never find another solar system like ours

A Neptune-like planet 450 light years away has been found to have an atmosphere rich in water, complete with clouds, and the surprising find suggests not all Solar Systems form like ours did.

Researchers at the Nasa Goddard Space Flight Centre used transmission spectroscopy to study the planet, also known as HAT-P-26b. With a similar size to Neptune, HAT-P-26B orbits its star 20 times closer than we are to the Sun, and takes just four days to circle it.

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Atmosphere found on nearby Earth-like planet hints it could be a ‘water world’

For the first time, astronomers have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet beyond our world.

The Venus-like planet, known as Gliese 1132b or GJ 1132b, lies 39 light years away, which is close in astronomical terms.

When it was first discovered in 2015 Drake Deming, an astronomer at the University of Maryland, said it was “arguably the most important planet ever found outside the solar system”.

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